Stefano is based upon a real-life monk who Casanova met while travelling by foot from Ancona to Rome. He was coarse and loutish and the two frequently quarrelled but he was a seasoned traveller who knew how to obtain supplies and shelter for free. On more than one occasion he saved Casanova’s skin. In his autobiography, Casanova notes: “This lazy fellow was a man about thirty, red-haired, very strong and healthy; a true peasant who had turned himself into a monk only for the sake of living in idle comfort.”
From a story-telling point of view the love-hate relationship between Casanova and Stefano was too good to miss. In ‘Casanova Shadows’ we’ve deepened that bond more than was the case in real life so that it becomes the most central relationship in the novel. Stefano also plays a crucial part in creating the Casanova ‘family’, comprising Casanova, Stefano, Marie, and Giuseppe. As with most families, competing and contrasting personalities create a rich and dynamic set of interactions weaving together affection, hostility and ironic playfulness in ways that often make it difficult for outsiders to gauge where the truth lies. This is particularly the case with Stefano who is never really at ease in the company of others. Stefano also reinforces another feature which is characteristic of this ‘family’: they are all outsiders. Stefano is a penniless, itinerant monk and socially awkward, especially around women. Marie lost her father as a young child and was abandoned by her mother. Giuseppe has been left by his mother in a strange city in the charge of his unpredictable uncle. And Casanova, because of the lowly status and poverty of his birth, will never be fully accepted into elite society no matter how accomplished or wealthy he becomes.
‘The Prologue’, and chapters 1 and 2 of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ are now freely available here.
6 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.
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